Sukkot - The Day Yahshua Came to Dwell with Man
The year was before 4 BCE when Herod the Great met his death. The political atmosphere in the Roman province of Judea was tense. The aspirants for the throne of Judea were seething to topple the paranoid Roman puppet of Herod the Great, who had gone to great extent to destroy any claimant to his throne. In his rages, he killed his favorite wife, Mariamne I and her two sons, Alexander and Aristobulus who were of the royal Jewish Hasmonean blood descent.
Into this arena strode three emissaries of a nation to the east. Members of the supreme council of adepts of the ancient magi who still existed from the Babylonian and Persian era, brought with them to King Herod news. The portents of the heavens were guiding them to Jerusalem. A king, an anointed one of the divine realms had been born. Herod’s heart almost stopped.
The hills were alive with the “Sound of Music.” All across the Judean plateaus, wadis and plains the Jewish pilgrims were walking towards the city of God. The air was alive and vibrant, the birds were singing in the air. Donkeys, mules and carts along with myriads of pilgrims in bands and clusters from the north, south, east and west, all walking towards the spiritual center of Jewish life, the city of Jerusalem.
This was an ancient festival instituted in the shrouds of ancient history. The fields had been harvested and the grains had been placed in their storage bins. Now the people of the land began their prayers for their God in heaven to send the early rains to moisten the soil and prepare the fields for the planting of the next crop to ripen just before the first spring festival of Pesach (Passover) in the month of Abib (March or April).
The instructions for these festivals were given thirteen hundred years prior by an invisible Leader enshrouded in the earthquakes and fire of a mountain inferno called Sinai. This same invisible Leader was also enshrouded in a pillar of fire that protected the fleeing Israelites from the charioted armies of the Pharaoh of Egypt. This same pillar of fire hovered over a golden tented tabernacle. With a glowing light in the nighttime sky, it signaled the Presence of that One who called Himself, the great I AM.
It was the purpose of their God, to give to His chosen ones six great festivals to constantly refresh in their minds who He was. Six great feasts, three times a year the adult males of the family were required to travel to Jerusalem and present them before the God they served.
The Feast of Tabernacles was at the closing gathering of the Jewish religious festival year.
Called the Festival of Booths or Festival of Tabernacles, it was the third of three fall festivals.
In the month of Tishri in the months of September or October, this feast closed the Jewish festival year. Many refer to these three Jewish festivals, Rosh Hashanah (Festival of Seventh Trumpet), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkoth (Festival of Tabernacles) as the Second Advent.
On the other hand, the three spring festivals were called the First Advent; the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Passover sacrifice and Seder and the Festival of First Fruits, in the month of Abib or Nissan. When Yahshua (Jesus) was condemned in spite of his innocence, died as an outcast man and was buried and then arose from the dead as the “first fruits of the resurrection”, he fulfilled every literal typology of Passover. For seven days and seven nights, the Passover reminded the Hebrews of their ancestors, who for 40 years lived in the wilderness in shelters no better than those constructed for their animals. In fact, the Hebrew word, ‘Sukkoth’ was used to describe ‘stables’ or lodging places for animals.
Genesis 33:17 - “And Jacob journeyed to Sukkoth, built himself a house, and made sukkoths (booths) for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Sukkoth.”
Whereas it was the spring festival of Passover that reminded the Israelites of their emancipation, it was the fall festival of Succot that reminded them of their redemption. They were now to celebrating in the presence of their Lord who had come to dwell with them.
Five miles from Jerusalem, their final destination in the city of Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary (Miriam) would soon seek shelter. In the coolness of the fall season, the most coveted ritual of the Sukkoth season was to live for eight days in a Sukkoth, a temporary structure, covered with palm leaves and myrtle branches.
This may seem as a surprise to many who still think of December 25 as the birth of Jesus. May we consider why were the shepherds in the fields with their flocks in the snow and frosty night of the Judean winter?
In this Jewish year 5766 (2005-2006) on the evening of December 25, it falls on the equivalent ancient Jewish day of Kislev 25. Yet the day of Kislev 25 is itself the first day of an important Jewish festival, Hanukkah. BibleSearcher research now documents in the article, “The Festival of Hanukkah and the Conception of Jesus (Yahshua)” that the Festival of Lights began about 160 years (40 x 4) before the day of the conception of Yahshua to the young maiden called Miriam. It was Hanukkah that celebrated the cleansing of the temple from the desecration of the “Abomination of Desolation” by the Syrian rule, Antiochus Epiphanes IV. Nine months later, the time of a normal prenatal period, the Festival of Sukkot began.
On the land in the outskirts or suburbia of Jerusalem were throngs of pilgrims unable to find accommodations in the Holy City. They moved to the hillsides and surrounding villages. As such, the homes of the Bethlehem residents were available for hire for the pilgrims coming in for the festival. A room was sold a premium, for there always were more pilgrims than accommodations. On this day, there was literally, “no room in the inn”.
Here within the throngs of people traveling south from Galilee to Jerusalem was Joseph, a master guildsman and its youthful and very pregnant wife, Mary (Miriam). As with all the other Jewish pilgrims, Mary and Joseph were singing, shouting hosannas, giving praise to their God and enjoying the fellowship of their friends and fellow pilgrims.
The ride of the pregnant maiden was punctuated with the first signs of the contractions of labor. The birth of the babe was near. This truly was a joyous occasion as all new arrivals in the human family are. The fellow travelers were excited. The mothers and grandmothers were giving the best of their maternal advice to the new arrival to the world of motherhood.
Mariam was a mere teenager about twelve to fourteen years of age. All the soothing words of comfort could not shed the fears of the responsibilities of her impending motherhood. Will I be a good mother? Can I tolerate the pains of childbirth? She remembered the strange apparitions of an angelic visitor, the archangel to the gentile nations Gabriel, giving her the greetings from on high.
Luke 1:28 – “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!...The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”
As a “hidden one”, an almah in the Hebrew language, no doubt she silently wondered, “How am I going to handle raising a child, destined to be a messiah, a tzaddik (righteous man), the Son of God?” The impulses were racing within her heart as she wanted to shout to all to hear, “Don’t you know, I am giving birth to One who is to be destined to be the Maschiach of Yisra’el (Messiah of Israel)?” Yet she pondered these things and kept them hidden in her heart.
vast throngs were slowly moving towards the great epicenter of the Hebrew
faith, Jerusalem. It is difficult to imagine that in fact the whole
provinces of Galilee and Judea were on foot. All the men of the land were
required to go to the House of the Lord to celebrate Sukkoth.
This was called the season of our rejoicing (zeman simhateinu).
The fall agrarian harvesting season was now over. The warm rays of the sun and the blessing of the rain from the heavens caused the land of Judea to sprout forth with an abundance of harvest. Year after year under the tillage of the Hebrew or Jewish hands, the land of Judea reaped a bountiful harvest that earned her the respect as the bread basket of the Roman Empire.
A strange phenomenon was also being noticed. In times of national crisis when the Jewish people were exiled from the land, the hillsides of Judea lay dormant as one of the greatest arid wastelands in the Middle East. The “green thumbs” of the Jewish fingers and the soil of “The Land” appeared to have a strange symbiotic synergy. When the Jewish people were living in the land, the land shouted for joy. The trees of the field grew into vast forests, the arid fields matured into bountiful harvests. The birds and the animals returned back into the land.
The days of repentance during the Days of Awe, leading up to the Great Day of the Lord, Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement, was over. The people in the land could now have a sense of security and fulfillment. They were at peace with themselves, their neighbors, and their God. Five days later under the light of the full moon, when the “fullness of time had come”, the Festival of Thanksgiving began.
The Festival of Sukkoth was simply called, ha-had, or ‘the Festival’ (1 Kings 12:32). It was a festive time and the mood and pilgrims traveled in caravans singing and dancing to the rhythmic lyrics of praise to Adonai, their Lord and Savior was one of great joy. The colorful Temple ceremonies and rites at the festival were designed for an uplifting festive spirit with the large number of sacrifices, the great clouds of incense giving fragrance to the air and the choruses of priests singing and chanting. All the human senses were stimulated with the ceremonies and pageantry. The changes of season with cool daytime breezes and crisp evenings invigorated the body. Living a life of Torah to the observant Hebrew was a celebration.
Within all festive celebrations, loneliness could be more penetrating, especially to Miriam who could not afford to be transparent and revealing about what is really happening to her. Security in the lands was in highest alert as Roman soldiers lined the Roman roads. To some Jewish people these Roman soldiers were a symbol of safety and security. To others, the Romans were a symbol of oppression and the yoke of servitude.
To be a child born in the lineage of David in a conquered land under the iron yoke of the Caesar of Rome was a dangerous thing to be. Those in the lineage of David were recognized as a threat to the Roman government. They were also a threat to Herod the Idumea, who was the Roman appointed king in the land of Judea. Herod was known for his ruthless and merciless suppression of any potential aspirant to the throne of Judea. Shouting “King of the Jews” would be like shouting out ‘bomb’ in any modern international airport. It would give you attention you could do without.
From many lands of the diaspora where the Jewish people were scattered around the world, the pilgrims came back to celebrate. In memory of those months that their ancestors had lived in temporary dwellings in their journey to Sinai, they built temporary huts or shelters to live in the wilderness.
In the towns and villages surrounding Jerusalem, the hills were filled with people like a great campground. This was a season to please the eye and fill the hearts with every expression of universal joy.
The woods that surrounded Jerusalem gave of their branches and boughs to the pilgrims for their joy and festivity. The entire Holy City and all the villages took on the spectrum of a beautiful forest.
True to the hidden and coded matrix of every festival, the symbolism embedded in its rituals allowed the Jewish faithful to remind themselves of God’s providential protection in their past. This included the goodness that the God of creation yearly gave them in bountiful harvests. The religious symbolism of these festivals became a spiritual telescope for them to see into their future.
They knew that every generation of Hebrew life had already been prophesied by their prophets of old before it happened. With the right spiritual mindset, the whole nation would have been prepared for the arrival of that promised Maschiach (Messiah) and Redeemer. They could have anticipated Him in the Pesach Lamb. They could have seen Him as the towering pillar of light that guided them in the wilderness. They could have seen Him as the finger that engraved those Hebrew letters on the tablets of stones and gave them to Moses.
Yet here in this moment of time, they looked to their past and remembered the days that their ancestors lived in one huge tent city. Now they would dwell in booths or sukkots resembling tabernacles with green boughs. Throughout the streets, across the balconies of their city dwellings, within the courtyards of their homes, in the courts of the temple and the governmental and public buildings and on the housetops, the leafy dwellings made the landscape to be a harmonious blend of God’s forested nature with God’s people dwelling within.
As the pilgrims approached the city of Jerusalem, their anticipation became more intense. Shouts of hosannas echoed over the valleys and grand unison of singing rang across the land. At this moment of time the temple became the center of joy and celebration. The choirs of the Levites led the pilgrims in praise while the trumpets and shofars blasts resounded over the valleys and wadis surrounding the city.
As the sun set in the evening, artificial lighting kept the temple courts blazing. The anthems of music, palm waving, shouts of praise and thanksgiving, parades of priests in ritualistic celebration, lights streaming down from hanging lanterns all filled the senses and emotions of the Jewish faithful in praise and adoration to their God and Creator.
As the morning sun rose up in the eastern sky, the shrill piercing blasts of the cohenim trumpet chorus echoed over the land welcoming a new day. The sonorous blasts of individual shofars from that exotic long spiraling ram’s horn sent a chill down the spine of those listening. The morning ceremonies began again in pomp and ceremony.
The chief priest dipped a pitcher of water from the Pool of Siloam fed by the Gihon Spring. He then lifted it up high. With the trumpets sounding and rows of cohenim bowing and waving palm branches, the priest slowly ascended the steps from the waters below to the high altitude of the temple above.
The music chanted the slow and methodical rhythms. The priest with measured steps treaded upward in spiritual ascent towards the symbolic throne of Adonai in the Holy of Holiest.
There in the center of the temple courtyard were two silver basins flanked by guardian priests. A basin of water was poured into one and a basin of grape wine was poured into the other. Together the contents of each mixing with each other flowed into a single pipe. It then traversed the temple courtyard flowing down the sides of the elevated mount of the temple to the Kidron Valley below and onward to the Dead Sea. Like the fountain of water that flowed from the Rock in Sinai by the tap of the rod of Moses to quench the thirst of the children of Israel, so also this water represented the “Water of Life” that would soon flow within this courtyard.
The Arrival of the Family of Joseph to Bethlehem
Using our “spiritual vision” we can imagine that with the progressive contractions, the pace of Joseph and Mary (Miriam), heading to Jerusalem, slowed down. Soon they found that they were no longer traveling with the same group of Galilean friends. The hour was getting late. Throngs and throngs of people continued to flock to the surroundings of the city of Zion.
Mary was a native of the city of Bethlehem. Her father was in the respected business of growing flocks of sheep and cattle for the temple sacrificial culture. They no doubt were moneyed but they did not know where their pregnant daughter was in route to their city.
It was the aged custom of the villages surrounding the temple to open their homes to the pilgrims to stay while visiting and celebrating at the temple in Jerusalem. To the inhabitants, the pilgrims represented monetary income with their rooms for hire. Soon all the rooms in the village homes were full.
For most inhabitants of the village of Bethlehem, the festivities were to be celebrated in their own Sukkoth, where they talked, celebrated and fulfilling the final mitzvoth (commandment), to rejoice unto the Lord.
As Miriam and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem she was nearing full labor. The urgency and the timing was a problem. The town was full, not only full, but packed full. Her family home was full. All the other village homes were full. Even the village “inn” was full.
As the throngs and crowds singing, talking and celebrating tried to find shelter within this village, trying to find a room or a sukkoth for a woman in full labor and about ready to have a baby was to be challenging.
Not only the homes and the inn but the privately built sukkoths were full. Yet, where else but the real ‘sukkoths’, the dwelling places for the animals could they stay? In the Brit Hadassah, the New Testament canon, there is no reference to caves or barns, yet there is a reference to a manger, a feeding trough for the animals. Was this babe to be born in an animal Succoth just like their ancestor Jacob built in the days of old built succoths for his animals? Was this babe to be born in a festival succoth and a “manger” was brought to be made in a make-shift crib? Part of the story is left untold. What we do know, on that evening, the babe Yahshua was born.
There in the midst of the great fall festival of Tabernacles, with the shouts and celebration of Adonai, the future King of the universe was born as a mere babe among the human race. As it was stated by the Apostle John:
John 1:14 - “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The birth of Yahshua was a birth of humble beginnings. It was a birth right in the midst of God holy people. It was in the midst of the very festival in which the Jewish people were celebrating of that day in which the anointed One would come to dwell among them. They dreamed of the arrival of the anointed one who would come to redeem them to the ancient glory of their ancestors.
The meaning of the Hebrew word for the phrase “to tabernacle” meant to “dwell amongst.” With all the festive celebrations around, here we see the birth of the Jewish messiah. The time when “we beheld His glory”, He literally was tabernacling or dwelling among men within the booths of Sukkoth, yet resided in the humble dwelling of the sukkoths of the animals. Yet here were humble Jewish residents who had “eyes that could see” and “ears that did hear.”
These cool evenings were the last few weeks before the harsh Judean winters would finally set in. The shepherds were now spending all of their nights with the sheep in the fields to fatten them up before winter. The dreaded heat of summer was over, and the evenings were crisp and pleasant.
A squalling infant wrapped in swaddling clothes for protection of the cool breezes was surrounded by the curious stares of the domestic animals. This is a scene familiar to all Christendom. The truths within the myths passed down from the Christian’s historical ancestry do have literal reality. Nearby in the fields surrounding Bethlehem, the shepherds sitting on the grassy sloped hillside suddenly found themselves serenaded by a chorus of supernatural choristers, singing,
Luke 2:8-10 - “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, Peace, Good Will towards all men on whom his favor rests...”
Actually, this was not the first thing that happened to the shepherd. First, that inter-dimensional gateway into the world of the Divine opened and there “stood before them an angel of the Lord, and the splendor of the Lord shone round them. They were terror-stricken…” (Luke 2:8-10)
This archangel, Gabriel, once again enters the nativity story at another surprising moment in history. Yet, he enters at the expected moment of time in God’s ordained history.
First there was Zacharias who was visited by this angelic messenger from the throne of God. Then there was the young maiden Miriam. Soon afterwards this archangel was visiting Joseph in a dream. Now, this angelic emissary came to the shepherds on the Bethlehem hillside. What was the message of this supra-natural being? “Fear not!” Consoled by the soothing message, they listened.
Luke 2:10-12 - “I have good news for you: there is great joy coming to the whole people. Today in the city of David a deliverer has been born to you - the Messiah, the Lord. And this is your sign: you will find a baby lying wrapped in his swaddling clothes, in a manger.
Quickly the shepherds headed to Bethlehem. Winding in and out among the multitude of Sukkoths, they sought the “Deliverer” asking, have you seen a newborn child? Soon the whole town knew. An educated guess would suggest that there was only one birth in Bethlehem that evening. There in the animal succoth the shepherds found Joseph and Miriam. As the gossip traveled from one succoth to another the story of the shepherds became the talk of the town.
Luke 2:17-18 – “They recounted what they had been told about this child; and all who heard were astonished at what the shepherds said.”
The seven days of the Festival of Sukkot came and went. Daily, the men of the congregation went to the temple to celebrate and worship the God of Israel. What they were specifically awaiting was the special celebration of the eighth day of Sukkot.
The festival of Sukkot was the one feast and the one week which commemorated the Shekinah (Sh'chinah), the Glory of God, as ‘tabernacling among men’. The last day of the feast, the eighth day of festival of Tabernacles called the Simhat Torah was the one day of the year when all the Jewish people celebrated when the Torah itself would ‘come to life’.
Simhat Torah, the 22nd of Tishri, in the Jewish festival year, commemorated the advent of the Torah, and literally means “the rejoicing of the Torah”. On this day, the Torah scroll would be taken from their sacred ark in the synagogue by the rabbi in the synagogue. They would take the Torah and dance with the Torah around the synagogue, even into the streets as though the Torah was coming to life. There was even an enacted symbolic wedding, including a wedding procession, with the Torah and a chosen member of the congregation. The Torah was marrying the bride.
And so it was stated by John,
John 1:14 - “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”.
The birth of the Maschiach of Yisra’el (Messiah of Israel) was on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles called the Festival of Sukkot. During this week of days, they “beheld His glory” of the One who literally was tabernacling among men within the booths of Sukkoth.
On the eighth day, Simhat Torah, Yahshua then became ‘alive’. In Jewish life, the young male was not recognized as a live birth until he passed the high risk days of neonatal life. This is when most infants died. As the maternal immune properties given to the babe were beginning to diminish, the immune system of the neonate (new birth) began to develop his own blood immune protection and blood clotting properties. At this time, the young Jewish male was circumcised and his name was given to Him.
As a male born child, Yahshua was circumcised at home because His mother, Miriam, was undergoing the forty days of ritual purification.
Leviticus 12:2-4 - If a woman has conceived and borne a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her customary impurity she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. She shall then continue in the blood of her purification thirty-three days. She shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled."
In total fulfillment of the Law (Torah), the birth of Yahshua has been recorded and testified for all ages. He would be haMaschiach (the Messiah) who would later point his followers toward the Torah as a Torat Chayim (Living Torah). All mankind who had “eyes that can see” and “ears that can hear” recognized that the Jewish Davidian born babe called Yahshua ben Yosef (Jesus son of Joseph) was the true and fullest emanation of the Torah (The Word of God). He was now alive as a Torat Chayim (Living Torah). He would later be recognized as ‘divine’, that is literally meaning “of or from the vine” or as the “Agent of the True Vine, Hashem (Almighty One of Israel). These may be mystical concepts, but they are also profound thoughts on the nature of Yahshua haMaschiach (Jesus the Messiah).
So on that day, as foretold by the angel Gabriel, Joseph obeyed the command of the Lord and named His son a name that came from the Hebrew root word, Yasha, meaning ‘to save’.
Matthew 1:21 – "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Yahshua (Jesus), for He will save His people from their sins."
On Simhat Torah, Joseph, the adopted father, named his son and thereby claimed him as his own.
Matthew 1:18 – "Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he (Joseph) called His name Yahshua."
While the family of Jesus was introducing their young son in the rites of circumcision, the pilgrims were completing the most awesome ritual of the festival season. They were celebrating in marching, dancing and singing the moment in time in which the Lord of hosts would come down in the flesh and dwell among them.
The memories of the ancient processional marching around the city of Jericho were still vivid in the Jewish consciousness. Once a day for six days they marched around the city of Jericho and then seven times on the seventh day, the Israelites walked around the ancient city of Jericho. With a blast of the shofars, the walls came tumbling down.
On that day the pilgrims to Jerusalem watched the processional marching called Hakkofot. Seven of the Torah scrolls are removed from the ark so that all males will have a chance to dance with the Torah in the Hakkofot procession.
In the days of the temple, the priests would march with the scrolls on the central platform around the altar. This was accompanied with dancing and acrobatic feats of ecstatic joy. Today some of the synagogue congregation dance all the way to the Western Wall called the Kotel.
It was on the forty days after the birth of Yahshua, on the 4th day of Kislev, during the first week of December; this Torah observant Jewish family, Joseph and Miriam, brought Yahshua to be dedicated at the Temple Mount proper. As is written in the laws of Hashem (God):
Luke 1:21-25a - “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to Hashem (God).”
No, they did not return from Nazareth, rather they were still residing in the city of David, called Bethlehem and the birth home of Miriam. This dedication of Yahshua came after his mother, Mary, had spent forty days in seclusion and returned to the temple for her rites of purification. Here the parents of Jesus were fulfilling in complete obedience to the Laws of Moses and the halachah (teachings and customs) of the Jews.
Leviticus 12:6 – "When the days of her purification are fulfilled, whether for a son or a daughter, she shall bring to the priest a lamb of the first year as a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting."
Provisions were made for the poor and those unable to bring a lamb to the temple.
Leviticus 12:8 – "And if she is not able to bring a lamb, then she may bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons – one as a burnt offering and the other as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean."
At the temple in Jerusalem there was a just and pious man whose name was Simeon the Righteous, who was waiting for the Consolation of Israel.” (Luke 2:21-25a) Here we see prophetically the mission and purpose of the life of Jesus. The major theme of the Prophets looking for the Consolation of Israel was the calling for the reunification of the House of Israel (Northern Kingdom) with the House of Judah (Southern Kingdom).
On the steps of the beautiful Temple of Herod, we see Simeon, holding the infant Jesus, and “the Holy Spirit was upon him as it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, that he would not see death before he had seen Hashem’s (God’s) messiah. So Simeon came by the Spirit into the Temple. When the parents brought in the messiah, to do for him according to the custom of the Torah, he took him up into his arms and blessed God and said,
Luke 2:25b-32 - “Hashem, now you are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
There on the Temple Courtyard, the mission of Jesus was foretold. He was to be
(1) A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles and
(2) The glory of your people, Israel”
Simeon only paraphrased the words of Isaiah:
Isaiah 49:5-6 - “And now Hashem says, ‘Who formed me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him so that Israel is gathered to Him, for I shall be glorious in the eyes of Hashem, and my God shall be my strength, indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the ‘natzri’ (preserved ones) of Israel; I will also give you as light to the Gentiles, that you should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
This babe was to be known as Yahshua haNotzri (Jesus the Nazarene). By His own testimony, Yahshua outlined His own mission;
Matthew 15:26 – “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
He was to be that light to bring the revelation of the God of creation to all the Gentiles. He was the illuminated One and not the modern usurpers today called the Illuminati. It was His duty to raise the banner and to begin the call for the restoration of all the tribes of Jacob, of the House of Israel. Out of the Jewish people were to be the restoration of the “natzri “, the preserved ones of Israel. Through this babe the salvation of Hashem would reach out to all the earth.
From the ages of antiquity, even before the great flood of Noah, the promise of the messiah, the anointed one had been given to the chosen lineage of Adam. The preserved lineage of Hashem, the God of Israel, was a critical marker of the plan of salvation through the descendants of Adam and Eve.
It was in the cool of the day that a reality check came to that first couple. After they had chosen to violate one very simple commands of their God, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden,” (Genesis 3:1) they felt a strange sense of shame and fearfulness. They did not go back to inquire or consult their Creator. Instead they hid. It was YHVH Elohim their God, who walking through the garden came to find them, calling, “Adam, where are your?”
That sacred tale preserved from antiquity evokes the very presence and concern of the Holy One. (Genesis 3:9) Their shame was enhanced by Hashem’s piercing question, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Genesis 3:11)
So the story of the first sin and disbelief that the commands of Yahweh are true and must be obeyed at all times was told. The God of Adam gave them the “facts of life.” Adam and Eve chose not to believe but wanted to “learn” for themselves. The sad curse felt by billions of parents over the ages as they watch their own children defy their requests or demands, resounded from that moment of time in the Garden.
There in the coolness of the forests, the first prophecy of ‘hidden knowledge”, it was given to both Adam and Eve. Adam was impelled to blame Eve and Eve wanted to blame the serpent. Neither one of them took responsibility for their own willful actions.
Unknowns to them, the “Great Controversy between God and Satan” was already raging throughout the hidden universes beyond. It had not penetrated human life on this planet earth. Where the personal fire of independence and autonomy from the God’s laws of the universe were planted in seeds of rebellion in the archons of the angelic hosts, up to this time, the children of God in the Garden were untouched.
With “eyes that were opened” and “ears that would now hear”, Adam and Eve listened to the great curse;
Genesis 3:14-15 – “So the Lord God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
The messianic hope for the return of the anointed one began on that day. The Jews in Judea were no more in bondage to the Romans than the reality to Adam and Eve that they were in bondage to that serpent haSatan (Satan). The curse of an angelic being that once stood next to the very throne of God and now sought to tempt and drive Adam and Eve to their destruction was a curse that they would take to their grave.
The plan of Salvation created in the council of heaven planned before the creation of this planet earth was told to our first ancestral parents. From that day, the hope of the return of that “Seed” of a woman would be the spark of hope throughout the ages of history. But God had a plan. His plan was immutable. His plan was now on a time schedule.
The Appointed Time
It was this fact that led the “Pharisee of Pharisees”, Rabbi Shaul of Tarsus who trained under one of the greatest rabbinic teachers of all time, Gamaliel I, to write the following;
Rabbi Shaul (Paul) - Galatians 4:4, 5 – “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
The Jewish people were in need of redemption. This is not a Christian opinion for the rabbinic sages have testified over the ages that due to the disobedience of the Jewish people came the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in 70 CE.
As testified by the Emissary of Yahshua, John the Beloved:
John 3:17 – “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
The redemption of the “Lost Sheep of the House of Israel” was critical in order that the gentiles could also receive the “adoption of sons.” The Jewish people were never to be redeemed away from the law of Moshe but were to be given the hope that some day the “fullness” of that law would be revealed to them.
Over the ages, believers in Christian churches and Jewish synagogues would often seek to create societies of perfectionism. Utopian societies became part of the cultures of both great religions. They set up rules and regulations that if conformed to the expectations of the religious hierarchy, they could pronounce themselves holy.
Yet there was one problem, only the God of Israel is holy. Every one of us humans have access to one true identity; the “image of God” that we were created to be. It was the purpose of the God of creation that adam (man) that He created in the Garden would learn to walk and talk with Him. The God of creation put within Adam that “image of God” that would be a divine link of that relationship.
The very nature of that first being called Adam was a literal manifestation of who he was and his relationship to his Father God. Adam and Eve, who initially had not sought individual autonomy, trusted in their Creator God in the garden. The power of His divine nature flowed through their lives in that garden home and they were seen and recognized as Light Beings, glowing as efflugent beings that radiated the glory of God. To the rabbinic sages, this was the “world of formation.” The glory of the Father God literally flowed through the vessels in their body. When Adam and Eve violated the command of their Lord in that garden, that “light” that shown through their body began to diminish and they felt that they were naked.
Eagerly they awaited their firstborn son. They hoped that he would be that Deliverer from their curse and would restore them back to their garden home. Oh how they longed to return to the garden from whence they were cast away from. How they longed to enter that portal gate that was now shielded with the cherubim and the seraphim and prevented their reentry into that sacred and sanctified place.
As Adam and Eve were cast away from their Creator God, they walked between the two trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and out the eastern portal gate. When they sought to return back to their God, they were facing the garden to the west.
Here was the archetype of all the temples of the sacred and the profane were built in the ancient days after this ancient model. When you returned to the God of your creation, you faced west and when you departed from the presence of the God of Redemption, you faced east. With this archetype in mind, it made no sense to face the rising sun when you worshipped the God of creation.
Down through the centuries, the hope of the promised one of Israel, the anointed, was the hope of all the people of the chosen. It led the prophet Ezekiel, who truly had witnessed the celestial merkava, the cherubim under the throne of the God of Israel flying through the heaven to receive an oracle from Hashem while they were in captivity.
Ezekiel 12:1-3 (parts), 21-23, 26-28 – “Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house. Therefore, son of man, prepare your belongings for captivity, and go into captivity by day in their sight….And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, what is this proverb that you people have about the land of Israel, which says, ‘the days are prolonged, and very vision fails? Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘I will lay this proverb to rest, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.’…Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, look, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of time far off.’ Therefore say to them, “Thus says the Lord God; ‘None of My words will be postponed anymore, but the word which I speak will be done,’ says the Lord God.”
The Lord of Israel was on a divine appointed schedule. With the prophet Ezekiel, God portrayed to Ezekiel and to the whole house of Israel before the destruction of the temple of Solomon, that the divinely appointed time of the Lord was immutable. The difference was that they had to have “eyes that can see” and “ears that can hear.”
Life was more than following rituals and ceremonies, they were to understand the meaning of the rituals and ceremonies. They were to understand the superficial meanings of Torah like the milk that they fed their babies. There were also to understand the hidden meanings, the mystical layers, the allegorical layers, the proverbial layers, the symbolic layers and apply them to their literal, real world in their world that their sages called the “kingdom” or the “Malkhut.”
So the golden cord of divine truth weaved its way down through the history. It did not always stay fully within the house of Judah. As the remnant of the whole House of Israel, they were always connected with the Divine. This gold cord of divine truth was rarely was held in the hands and minds of the masses.
Three centuries after the exile, according to the calendar of the Jewish sages, the wise ones of the East saw that the “sign” was again to be revealed in the heavens. They knew the oracles of the prophets of the Hebrews. Their “eyes were open” and they were willing to believe.
The stars in the heavens, placed there by the God of creation, traverse the skies in their divinely appointed paths. This was the first lesson book to the children of Adam. To man, these celestial bodies were symbols of the Divine One whose purpose knew no haste and could not be delayed.
Was it not Abram in the oppressing darkness of the night that he watched “a smoking oven and a burning torch” pass over the sacrificial carcasses of the heifer, goat, ram, dove and pigeon that he had placed on the ground? It was there that the God of Abram made a covenant with him. Here He revealed to him the divinely appointed time in the future, four generations later, when his descendants would be “strangers in a land that was not theirs.”
Genesis 15:13 – “Then He (God) said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.”
Why could the Israelites have not left Egypt and return to the land of Canaan earlier? Was it because of their sins and rebellion? No! They could not return until after the fourth generation (Genesis 15:16) or after four hundred years (Genesis 15:13) because God said, “for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
Genesis 15:16 – “In the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
Part of the plan of God’s appointed time was that sin must be fully revealed. This was not the sin of just God’s “chosen people by the promise” or the “chosen ones by adoption” but that the sin and iniquity of the pagan, the heathen and even the believers in the God of Israel who cursed His chosen ones had to be revealed and punished. So when the time of deliverance had come, the children of Israel made the largest exodus out of the land of the Pharaohs who built the pyramids. That hour was also divinely appointed:
Exodus 12:41 - “And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years – on that very same day – it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.”
This God was the same Providence that guided the affairs of the seventy family nations around the world. He spoke through the seventy root languages of the inhabitance on this planet earth. He guided the movement of the nations and human impulses that sought to control the affairs of the world.
And in a time then the nations were under the governance of a One World Government of the Pax Romanus, there was one law for the civil affairs of the world government and one language was recognized as the language of literature and the governing law of the imperial rule. At that time, that great clock of God’s appointed hour again came.
In Judea, the temple rituals had become corrupted. The appointed family of high priests, the house of Zadok had been removed. The history of the Essene origins as provided in the Damascus Document appear to correlate with the history as recorded in the apocryphal books of 1 and 2 Maccabees.
The forces of Hellenization in the Holy Land gained strength that by 172 BCE, Onias III, the legitimate high priest of the descent of Zadok (the high priest of King David and the progenitor of the lineage of high priests in the Temple at Jerusalem), was murdered in Jerusalem. In Onias III’s place, Meneleus, a Hellenized Reformist Jew who was not of the lineage of Zadok became the high priest. The orthodox righteous Jewish faithful refused to accept Meneleus. To them he was a usurper and an imposter.
It was by the instigation of Meneleus that Antiochus Epiphanes IV was drawn to Jerusalem. This Syrian monarch came to the city of God in peace. He had one goal, he was an ardent Hellenist. He was determined to change the Jewish culture and bring them into the ecumenical world order of Greek Hellenism. Meeting the supreme resistance of the Jewish people, he abolished the temple sacrifices by sacrificing swine upon the altar, forbad the reading of the Torah and the circumcision of the male babies, removed the golden menorah, the golden tables of showbread, the golden altar of incense, the bronze altar of burnt offering, and the glorious curtains from the temple, emptied the treasury of the temple and cast the Jewish people into great distress and lamentation. The Abomination of Desolation that profaned God’s Holy Temple cast an archetype upon the psyche of the Jewish people. This would resound within their minds again at the time of the destruction of the temple by the Romans and then again at the time of the end.
Soon a family of priests, the Maccabees revolted against the Syrians. In a bloody war for over three and one-half years, they finally drove out the forces of Antiochus, rebuilt and cleansed the temple and restarted their sacrificial system to God.
Adulated and honored as the anointed of God, the Maccabees were proclaimed kings over the Jewish people. Jewish autonomy was once restored. The problem existed for the Hasmoneans (the Maccabean rulers); as religious crusader they were, and as a family of priests they also were, as members of the divinely appointed house of David as the sole ruling family over the throne of Judah they were not. The God of Israel did not ordain them for this responsibility.
Soon the Maccabean rulers proclaimed themselves to be the high priest of the temple of God. As members of the house of Zadok, the divinely appointed lineage to be the high priest of the house of the Lord, they also were not.
As the Jews departed from their God and refused to accept the divine order of their religion, their faith grew dim and the light of their Torah faith that was to illuminate the whole earth almost ceased. They believed that prophecy stopped with the prophet Malachi for they no longer had the anointing oil. Out of the longing, weeping and lamentations, the great mysteries of the Hebrew faith became shrouded in darkness and the mystery of the future that the oracles of their prophets gave to them, they no longer understood.
Into the wilderness the Torah faithful fled and lived. They were called the Chasidim. It was over two hundred years prior to the birth of Yahshua, the Hebrew Scriptures had been translated into the Greek language. The Greek Septuagint allowed the gentile searchers of truth to access those hidden passages of divine truth. Among many whom the Jewish scholars called heathen were those who searched and understood her passages better than they. They also were looking and longing for the return of the redeemer for the Jews for they knew that out of their salvation the whole earth would be saved.
The gentile philosophers studied the great mysteries of the Jewish economy. Yet when they inquired of the Jewish people, the chosen ones, God wanted to be His light to the nations of this earth, the Jewish leaders shut the doors of truth. They refused to educate the longing gentile to the great symbolism of the temple services and the past and future symbols of their yearly festival celebrations.
A true spiritual interpreter of the Torah was needed in order to restore the great hidden messages, codes, symbolism, futuristic prophecies that were imbedded layer after layer in the entire matrix of the Torah, prophets and writings. The oral Torah had become a maze layered over layers of human interpretation. The pure hidden truths of those Hebrew words echoed from Sinai plunged deeper and deeper beneath the traditions of men. It was not that they were wrong. They overshadowed and obscured the simple teachings of God Himself.
The festivals given by the Lord of hosts beginning in Egypt and later in Sinai were simple, crisp and clear. Their simplicity allowed them to be applied to all ages. The penetrating truths were timeless, allowing the Hebrew to revisit with clarity their past but as shadow pictures of their future clear to the time of the end.
The fullness of time had come again. Not only the Jews, but also the entire human race needed an anointed one to “make the path straight” and bring divine revelation to the true path of Torah living. The ordinances which God had given to His people to be a light to illuminate their path became useless, for their eyes became dim and their ears refused to hear.
Instead of obeying the word of the Lord and following the divine lineage of leaders as ordained by their God, men wise in their own ways sought power, greed and control. They became the masters of their own religion and nation.
This era of the Jewish life was an era of hardship and oppression. It appeared that the God of Israel had forsaken them altogether. Many Jewish scholars have recognized that in the first century Judea, the religion and rituals of the house of God were in the forth-ninth degree of degradation. They were close to being separated from the sight of Hashem their God.
The office of the high priest was bid to the highest bidder. The high priest office was soon controlled by the great aristocratic wealthy elite of the nation. Great wealth was made by the families who maneuvered for the power of the high priest. The richest and the most powerful was the House of Ananus the Elder.
According to the infancy stories of Jesus, the young priest who accused Mary and Joseph of violating Torah law with the conception of a babe out of wedlock was the young priest called Ananus.
This young priest was possibly the same high priest emeritus, Ananias who along with the high priest, his son in law, Caiphas were responsible for orchestrating the plot to put Jesus the Nazarene to death by hanging on a tree.
Thirteen years later after the conception of Jesus, this same striving young priest, Ananus would became Ananias the high priest of Judah. He again met the young man coming down from Galilee at his bar Mitzvoth to celebrate for the first time as a ‘man of Israel’. There at the temple, Yahshua, this young student of Torah was found by his parents surrounded by the priests and elders of the temple. They marveled at his command of Torah knowledge and His breadth of insight into the unfathomable mysteries of the Divine.
The era of religious rituals of pageantry and fabled myth in all the pagan religions of the world were moving to an appointed hour when they would no longer hold the awe and adoration of the populous. A spiritual revolution of the heart was about to be revealed to the entire world. The Torah would be revealed not just in festival celebration and the written language but would be revealed in the flesh of a human body. The living pageantry of Torah observant living would come to this earth in the form of a babe. This young babe would be revealed to God’s chosen ones at an appointed time, on the eighth day of the festival of Succot, as Simhat Torah. On this day the Torah scrolls were taken out of their sacred confines and carried in the streets in dance and celebration.
It was to the “eyes” of the righteous ones that could see and ears that were willing to hear that the identity of the babe was revealed. It was Simeon the Just and Anna the prophetess who “knew” when they saw this child being dedication in the temple. To them it was revealed that this child came to this earth as the “Torah in the flesh.” He would become the fulfillment of all the rituals and the festivals. As a human adult, Yahshua would live the life of living drama of what it would be like to live the spiritual life of Torah to its fullest. His life was a revelation of what it was like to live in the “kingdom of God” and have the Torah written in your heart.
In the fullness of this time, while the hills were alive with the singing and praising to Adonai the Lord of the Jewish people, God sent His Son as His agent to reveal in living human flesh the fullest expression of living spiritually the “life of Torah.”
At this moment of time, at the first of the Festival of Sukkot, a babe was born in the ancestral home of his mother, Mariam, the city of Bethlehem.
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Part Three – Born of a Virgin
Behold a Virgin shall Conceive
Prophecies of Jesus’ Birth
Born of a Virgin
Levitical Case Law on Betrothals and Virgins
The Harlot, the Defiled Woman and the Temple Virgin
Rahab and Ruth: Tainted Women Blessed by the Almighty God
The use of ‘Virgin’ in the New Testament
The Fullness of God’s Revelation to Man
The Corruption of the Word “Virgin” in Early Christian Orthodoxy
The Apostle Paul and Virgins
Chosen to be a Vessel by the God of Israel
Part Three – Born of a Virgin
Part Five – Was Joseph Betrothed or Espoused to Mary?
Herodian Estates East and West of the Jordan River – by Jordan’s Karak Resource Project
Jericho Holy Land by Atlas Tours
Life from 2,000-year-old seed in Israel by International Herald Tribune, June 13, 2005
“Thus Went the Battle of Jericho” by Jodey Bateman
Sukkot and the Date Palm by Gil Marks
Jericho and the Jordan Valley by the Jordan Madaba Mosaic Map
Virtual Pilgrimage Jericho by Franciscan Foundation
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